Finance

Print Version

Area

Corporate and Public Finance

  • Financial analysis
  • Cash management
  • Credit management
  • Budget analysis

  • Investment management
  • Investor relations
  • Financial reporting
  • Payroll

  • Benefits
  • Real estate
  • Risk management

Employers

  • Private businesses of all sizes and types
  • State and local government entities

  • Federal agencies:
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • Treasury Department

  • Schools and universities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Foundations
  • Hospitals

Strategies

  • Complete a finance-related internship to build skills and learn about the work environment.
  • Seek leadership roles in campus organizations such as treasurer.
  • Develop strong computer skills, including spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
  • Sharp analytical skills are crucial in this industry.
  • Earn an MBA to reach the highest levels of corporate finance.
  • Learn another language to prepare for international opportunities.

Area

Banking

  • Corporate credit analysis
  • Commercial and industrial lending
  • Trust and private wealth management
  • Capital services and mergers & acquisitions

  • Mortgage loans
  • Loan origination and packaging
  • Branch management
  • Operations

  • Cash management
  • Credit scoring and risk management
  • Financial analysis
  • Private banking

Employers

  • Commercial banks
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and loan associations

  • Savings banks
  • Mortgage banks
  • Captive finance companies

  • Regulatory agencies:
    • Federal Reserve
    • Federal Deposit Corporation
    • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    • Office Thrift Supervision

Strategies

  • Gain a solid background in business including marketing and accounting.
  • Get experience through part-time, summer, or internship positions in a financial service firm.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills in order to work well with a diverse clientele.

Area

Insurance

  • Claims analysis
  • Underwriting

  • Risk management
  • Sales

  • Actuarial science
  • Loss control

Employers

  • Life insurance firms
  • Property and casualty insurance firms

  • Commercial banks
  • Savings banks

Strategies

  • Complete an internship with an insurance agency.
  • Talk to professionals in the industry to learn more about claims, underwriting, and risk management. Many good, entry-level positions exist in these areas.
  • Initiative and sales ability are necessary to be a successful agent or broker.
  • Develop strong communication skills, as many positions require interaction with others and the ability to explain information clearly and concisely.
  • Take additional statistics classes to prepare for a career in actuary science. Prepare to take the first in a series of actuarial examinations.

Area

Personal Financial Planning

  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Operations

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial advising
  • Insurance advising

Employers

  • Brokerage firms
  • Trust companies
  • Financial partnerships

  • Multi-line insurance firms
  • Sole practitioner

Strategies

  • Gain experience in sales.
  • Demonstrate a highly motivated and entrepreneurial personality.
  • Research how one obtains the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.
  • Develop a solid personal network.

Area

Real Estate

  • Residential brokerage
  • Commercial sales
  • Appraisals

  • Property management
  • Real estate portfolio management

Employers

  • Real estate brokers
  • Commercial banks
  • Appraisal firms

  • Apartment and condominium complexes
  • Developers
  • Large corporations: real estate departments

  • Real estate investment trusts
  • Mutual funds

Strategies

  • Obtain sales experience through part-time, summer or internship positions.
  • Research how to become a real estate broker through the National Association of Realtors.
  • Develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Research apprenticeships in appraisal.

Area

Investment Banking

  • Corporate financial analysis
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Equity and debt
  • Underwriting
  • Institutional bond and equity sales

  • Retail bond and equity sales
  • Business valuation
  • Business sale transactions
  • Currency trading
  • Derivatives (e.g., options)

  • Trading
  • Venture capital fund management
  • New venture analysis
  • Hedge fund management

Employers

  • Investment banking firms
    (Changes in laws have created a fluid situation in this industry; Mergers and acquisitions continue to take place.)
  • Financial services firms

  • Insurance firms
    (The Gramm Leach Bliley Act of 1999 allowed financial services firms to acquire or build investment banking subsidiaries and vice versa.)

  • Commercial banks (Due to shifts in federal regulations, more commercial banks are adding investment activity.)

Strategies

  • An MBA is required to move beyond the entry-level analyst position in investment banking. Investment banking is highly competitive.
  • Be prepared to work many hours of overtime per week, start at the bottom, and pay your dues.
  • Develop strong analytical and communication skills.
  • Cultivate personal ambitiousness.
  • Join a campus-based investment club.
  • Obtain a Series 7 License for both institutional and retail broker sales positions.
  • Work toward the CFA designation.

Area

Money Management

  • Research
  • Trading

  • Marketing
  • Portfolio management
  • Hedge fund management

Employers

  • Portfolio management firms
  • Commercial banks
  • Investment banks

  • Federal Reserve banks
  • Insurance firms

Strategies

  • Most positions require an advanced degree in economics, finance or business and many years of financial experience.

Area

Accounting

  • Corporate or Government:
    • Financial management
    • Financial reporting
    • Cost accounting
    • Tax planning
    • Research

Employers

  • Companies of various sizes, in all industries
  • Federal agencies and departments:
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • Department of the Treasury
    • Office of Management and Budget
    • Securities Exchange Commission

  • State and local agencies
  • Federal Reserve banks
  • Insurance firms

Strategies

  • Sometimes opportunities in accounting exist in government and corporate settings for finance students.
  • Take more than the required amount of accounting classes to supplement finance curriculum.
  • Maintain a strong GPA.
  • Complete an internship in a government agency and become familiar with the government application process to work in the public sector.

General Information

  • Quantitative skills are extremely important in finance. Take additional courses in math, statistics, and accounting.
  • Many positions in finance require the ability to analyze and interpret data.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills. Cultivate an eye for detail.
  • Gain experience through internships, summer and part-time positions.
  • Read the Wall Street Journal and other financial news magazines to stay abreast of current events and to learn more about the industry.
  • Join student professional associations in the field of finance and seek leadership roles.
  • Several professional designations and licenses, (e.g., Chartered Financial Analyst or Certified Financial Planner), are available to finance professionals working in a particular area. Earning these designations may help one obtain advanced positions.